Imaginary Places

I’m getting close to the halfway point on the book I’m working on, but I realized after yesterday’s very productive writing session that I did something wrong with that scene. Today I’ll have to backtrack and rework it to move things in the right direction. I’m trying to figure out when to introduce a particular element that will move the plot forward dramatically but also complicate things for the main character. I think I moved part of it up way too quickly and need to add the other part first.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve fallen in love with my setting, which is a problem because it doesn’t actually exist. I believe there’s a particular word in one language (that I don’t recall) that translates to homesickness for a place you’ve never been. This is like that, except it’s a place I can never go. I created a fictional small town that’s very loosely based on a couple of actual towns. I stole some geography from two places and put them together to get what I wanted. Then I started adding the elements I needed for the story, along with giving the town a background that explained some of the things. The result is a town I would like to visit, maybe even live in.

There’s a “downtown” area with a main street and a couple of side streets built in those turn-of-the-century downtown-style buildings you see in a lot of Texas towns. Sadly, in a lot of these towns, those buildings are now empty or torn down. People try to start businesses there, but they don’t last long. If a business is doing well there, the building no longer meets its needs, so they end up building a newer building on the edge of town. But in my town, they’ve found businesses to go in these buildings and have even built apartments on the upper floors. The town’s in the process of turning around and finding a new identity after it almost withered away.

One of the businesses in my old downtown is a Mexican restaurant. Either it used to actually be a saloon or it looks like it because that’s the vibe it has. It has wooden floors and a pressed tin ceiling, a big bar at the back that’s now counter seating, and the traditional mirror behind the bar. The food is excellent, and it’s the town hang-out. Late last week and over the weekend I was writing a scene set in this restaurant. My main character’s been stuck in this town after a lot of things happen, including one of those sudden cold fronts that takes it from a pleasant morning to sleet by evening, and she walks to this restaurant, where she meets a lot of the other characters, since it’s one of the few places still open and a lot of the people who were in the vicinity of the murder have come there for dinner. That meant I spent days craving Mexican food, but the problem was that I wanted to go to this restaurant, which doesn’t actually exist.

Fortunately, there were tacquitos at a party I went to over the weekend, which eased the craving somewhat. And I found a recipe for cheese enchiladas that sounds like what I like, so I’m going to try making that this weekend.

There’s also a diner in town that’s in a remodeled old train car. That one is based on a restaurant I went to in Oklahoma, which is in an old train car. I somewhat modified it, but I liked the idea, and it fits with the town’s story.

Today I need to decide what kind of library they have and what its building looks like.

2 Responses to “Imaginary Places”

  1. Book Worm604

    Library – old but freshened Carnegie.

    • Shanna Swendson

      That’s what I’m planning. That was the library in another fictional small town for a book that shall remain trunked, but I think I’m going to recycle it because I did a lot of research into Carnegie libraries back then and I may as well use it.

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